a lot of internet peoples have heard/used the phrase “somebody get this freakin’ duck away from me!” and know it as a ridiculous thing Strong Bad yelled while being chased by the dragon from adventure on the main menu of homestarrunner.com. but i think i know where the idea originally came from: an article in electronic gaming monthly’s january 2005 issue (#187) entitled “child’s play II” (scroll down to the adventure section), where – before the whole kids react youtube thing – they had a bunch of kids sit down with a 2600 and sling slander at the games that shaped a good portion of my generation.
here is the adventure “review” in its entirety:
Bobby: A duck ate me.
EGM: What ate you?
Parker: A pink duck.
EGM: What do you think this character’s name is?
Parker: Dot. Or Adventure? That’s what this game is, isn’t it? Go up, go up, go up.
Bobby: Stupid duck. I hate the duck. The duck is evil.
Parker: Go left, go left, go left. Grab the arrow. That’s the only way you can kill the duck. You have to run that into the duck.
Garret: It’s a spear or something.
Bobby: [Enters castle] I’m just going to store all my keys and all my useless stuff in here. I’m going to store my duck in there.
EGM: Do you identify with this dot character?
Garret: No. The dot is small. I am not.
Bobby: Yeah. My best friend, he looks just like this dot: small, handsome and adventurous.
EGM: How long would you put up with this game?
Garret: I could put up with this game for five more minutes.
Bobby: I could put up with this game for hours, but I’m so easily amused. How about we just pretend this is the new Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater game.
Garret: You go ahead and do that, Bobby.
Bobby: Maybe it’s all about a small dot that has nothing better to do in his life and he’s being chased by dots because nobody likes him in school.
EGM: What if we told you the ducks were supposed to be dragons? [Everyone laughs]
Bobby: Never get near this game. It’s addictive.
Parker: Ah-you’re trapped. You’ll be eaten by the duck.
EGM: Addictive in what way?
Bobby: Because you want to beat the level and find out what this nonsense means.
Parker: But you can’t do anything because you’re stuck behind the duck, or the dragon or whatever.
EGM: What is this game missing?
Parker: Like, action. But it’s for the Atari so it’s boring.
Bobby: I like the whole dot idea, but it should be a 3D dot with laser arms that can do Matrix moves. Pachoo! Pachoo! Pachoo!
Garret: How do you have a 3D dot?
Parker: Like a cube?
EGM: Would you want your parents to buy this for you?
Bobby: If it was 25 cents and came out of one of those gumball machines, yeah, I’d buy it.
Dillon: And do you think people actually paid to do this and it was a big deal?
Parker: It probably was.
Bobby: This is like Pong. Everybody thought it was amazing and good, but now we’re just thinking, “Oh, it’s only a good loading screen for Test Drive.”
Dillon: And to think 20 years from now, people are going to think, “Oh, you’re playing [GameCube Zelda game] Wind Waker? That’s boring.”
EGM: What are you going to say when your kids say Wind Waker looks boring?
Parker: Get out of my house. You’re out of my will.
EGM: Don’t you use your imagination right now to imagine that’s a warrior running around?
Garret: No. It’s hard to make the comparison.
Bobby: He gets eaten by evil ducks. Or “dragons.” How could you think he’s a warrior.
Rachel: It’s hard to make comparison between a little dot and then jumping to Zelda and the new and improved games.
EGM: So you think [Zelda’s] Link is a better hero than the dot?
Bobby: Yeah, Link is a lot better, because he has his catchphrase: “Yeeaaah!”
EGM: Wait, Adventure’s dot has a catchphrase. [Turns up TV volume. Game makes bleeping noise.] [Everyone laughs]
Rachel: It sounds like my alarm clock.
Parker: Did this game do really well?
EGM: Would it surprise you if we told you it did?
Parker: Not really, because it was Atari and was state of the art back then.
Bobby: And because people were stupid and like addictive games. People were like, “Wow-such good graphics! I mean, they got a dot with a key. Woooh!”
that, i believe, is where the adventure-dragon-is-a-duck idea originally came from.
i had this particular issue of egm and remember the spit-take that nearly happened when i read the first line – at this point my daughter was 6 and i swore she would have more respect for the classics that these kids. of course, several years later when i sat her down for a demonstration of the awesomeness that was the original legend of zelda, she said, ‘wow. nice “graphics” dad,’ and trailed sarcastic air quotes all the way out of the room… i died a little inside.
anyways, if you’ll excuse me, i have some ducks to slay with this giant arrow – maybe then i’ll know what all this nonsense means. BEEP!